This contrasted starkly with the walk last Sunday in the gloom - not raining at least. We had walked along the Stratford Reserve to the Avon Valley Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Salisbury. This is an area of SSSI owned by the Council. It's quite different to the Stratford Reserve - a wider floodplain, with managed tussocky grassland (managed by labour-intensive cutting and removal of cuttings), a wetland area, and a boardwalk along the riverbank.
But this Easter weekend started very differently - lots of lovely warm sunshine as we walked from Salisbury to Coombe Bissett for our pub lunch. The route takes us via the Racecourse and Ox Drove, for great views and many skylarks above us.
After lunch, we managed to haul ourselves on a slightly-longer route back, along the River Ebble (a highly valuable chalk stream), taking in the primroses and celandines, old boundary trees and watermeadow structures in the river. The route than crossed Stratford Tony and joined a Roman Road across arable fields. Here we encountered ancient trees and a surprising number of birds, including corn bunting (nationally rare), more skylarks and chiffchaffs. The latter are usually a summer migrant, although I believe a few are now starting to overwinter here. In any case, it was the first one of the season, which really heralds spring to me. Bring on the swifts and cuckoos!